What are Aftermarket Parts & Why Use Them?

When you take your car to the dealership, whether it’s for regular maintenance or repairs, you know that they will be putting Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts on your vehicle. However, have you thought about the parts that go on your car or truck when you are doing your own repairs? Or when you take your vehicle to an independent repair shop?

In these cases, you’re most likely going to get aftermarket auto parts. Perhaps you’re wondering what those are. We’re here to help answer your questions about aftermarket parts and help clarify why you want to use them.

What are Aftermarket Parts?

Aftermarket parts are simply parts that are not made by the original car manufacturer. They are replacement parts that are manufactured by third-party companies, and most are designed and constructed to fit exactly the same and work as well or better than the OEM parts they replace.

In fact, the term “aftermarket” can be a bit confusing. In reality, the more accurate term, and the one we use, is “alternative part”. That’s because these non-OEM parts are just that – an alternative to using OEM parts for repairs on your vehicle.

Are Aftermarket Parts Counterfeit Parts?

No! Alternative parts are simply manufactured by someone other than the original car company. They aren’t counterfeit, and, in fact, it’s estimated that 80% of independent repair shops, i.e. those not owned by a car company or dealer, use alternative parts.

Are Aftermarket Parts Bad for My Car?

Not only are they not bad for your car, but they can also be better for it – and your wallet. Because some alternative parts perform better than the original OEM part, your car may perform even better with the replacement parts.

For exterior body parts, such as bumpers, fenders, hoods, mirrors, and headlamps, there are high-quality third-party manufacturers who build these parts to provide a good fit and appearance keeping your vehicle looking just as it did originally.

There are hundreds of aftermarket parts manufacturers, some who specialize in a small range of parts and others who manufacture nearly every part on a car or truck. Some of the names you would even recognize, but may not think of them as alternative parts manufacturers.

You’ve probably got aftermarket parts on your car right now, and haven’t even thought about it. Have you replaced your tires? Or your windshield wipers? Maybe your headlights were replaced after a scrape with another car, or you got a new bumper after a fender-bender. It’s highly likely that these replacements were alternative parts, and you didn’t think twice before putting them on your vehicle.

Why Should I Choose Aftermarket Auto Parts?

Aftermarket parts are well manufactured, as we’ve already said. But there are a number of other reasons to choose an alternative part over an OEM one:

  • Choice: There are hundreds of companies that make alternative parts. With a little research, you can be sure that the alternative part you are getting is well-reviewed and potentially even certified as a one-to-one or better replacement for the OEM part.
  • Cost: The cost of alternative parts is almost always less than the same OEM part. How much less will vary by brand and purpose, but you’re likely saving money when you choose an alternative part. On average, OEM parts cost 60% more than alternatives.
  • Availability: When you want an OEM part, most times you’ll need to go to the dealer or an authorized seller to get it. If its not in stock, there can be a significant wait – time where you may be without the use of your vehicle. With alternative parts, however, you can walk into a gas station, auto parts store, or local mechanic shop and they will have parts to choose from. You can even order alternative parts off of the internet.
  • Quality: It bears repeating that many alternative parts are even better than the OEM parts they are designed to replace.
  • Care for your vehicle: If you are choosing a direct replacement part for your vehicle, an alternative part should not impact your vehicle’s safety or warranty.

In short, aftermarket parts can be a great choice for your vehicle, whether the part you are replacing is cosmetic or structural. Aftermarket parts offer choice, convenience, and peace of mind while saving you money and getting you back on the road quickly. Why use alternative parts? Because you have the choice.

Did you know that car companies are pushing to require that only OEM parts be used when repairing a vehicle?

If you want to protect your choice of what goes in and on your vehicle, take action now by contacting your state and federal representatives. If you have been forced to pay more for car company parts you can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) using the FTC Complaint Assistant website.


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